New Delhi: The commerce ministry will soon launch a system similar to hallmarking of gold to certify the quality of precious gemstones. “We want consumers to know the purity of precious gemstones. Right now, there is no proper mechanism to know how testing of precious gemstones is done because of which consumers are misled,” a senior government official said.
The department is also urging consumer affairs ministry to amend Bureau of Indian Standards Act. “We are pushing them to amend it. This will need a few changes in the BIS Act. Currently, there is no provision for hallmarking of gems and precious stones in India… We want this to be mandatory,” the official said, adding that the policy is likely to be in place by 2017-end. The ministry is also mulling a separate accreditation body for gemstones as many private labs claiming to certify these jewels have spread rapidly in the country. There are no government accredited labs to verify precious gemstones, but accreditation by international players including GIA, HRD and IGI is recognised in India.
The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) has also set up gemstone certification centres in four cities - Delhi, Jaipur, Surat and Mumbai. Officials in the commerce department believe that this would further boost gems and jewellery exports from the country. According to data from the GJEPC, India’s gems and jewellery exports in May rose 8% on year to $3.46 billion. For April-May, the exports were up 11% on year at $6.78 billion. During 2016-17 (April-March), the country’s gems and jewellery exports rose 9% on year to $35.55 billion.
The labour intensive gems and jewellery sector contributes about 14% to the country’s overall exports. India’s main export destinations include Europe, Japan, China and the US.